Monday, 22 July 2013

WW2 platoon hex rules: Part 2: Firefights

I want to create some very concise quickplay rules that confront players with intelligent command choices, but which use simple mechanisms to resolve the consequences. My first posting on this subject provoked a very interesting and helpful discussion on TMP. In the meantime, another TMP thread has given me an idea for managing firefights. The new thread began as a question about representing pinning and suppression but has drifted into a much wider discussion on the nature of firefights and combat in general.

I'm trying to get away from the micro 'element A fires at element B' approach and I had already decided to conduct close combat along the same lines that Assaults are conducted in Square Bashing, i.e. an en masse totalling of element factors. This mechanism is also used in another game I have played recently, Martin Rapier's Rifle and Kepi (albeit at grand tactical level).

My new idea is to see if it's practical to extend the same sort of mechanism to firefights where the elements are not necessarily adjacent and are not attempting to move into an enemy hex.

My idea is that firefights:

  • would be resolved en masse
  • would be on-going from turn to turn
  • would 'lock-in' the units involved

Of course, there are issues about how to initiate/recognise/expand/define a 'firefight group', and how the whole process will fit in with other game mechanisms, especially sequence of play, but I have been mentally storyboarding the idea and it might work something like this…

The platoons of a German infantry company are defending a string of bocage hexes when the platoons of a British company come into view in facing wood hexes. A firefight ensues and the combat factors of the two forces (a combination of weapon, tactical and random factors) are compared. Cover might be factored in at this point or into the result, e.g. units in the open might be suppressed rather than pinned or destroyed rather than suppressed.

Let's say the Germans have superior suppressive fire power, better cover and more luck with the dice. Let's say the British have also suffered ammo depletion. The British are first pinned and then progressively suppressed as the results stack up against them. At this point one German element keeps the British suppressed by continuing the firefight whilst its comrades move up for a close assault and the British attackers are swept away in the German counter-attack.

I'd be interested to know if this mechanism, i.e. the mass resolution of firefights where units are not immediately adjacent, is already used in other rules.

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